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Things to do in New York

From the 102nd floor, the Empire State Building gives panoramic views of Manhattan's skyscrapers. Midtown is home to ornate Grand Central Terminal and Downtown has crowded Canal Street in Chinatown. On the Upper East Side, locals rollerblade through Central Park, browse art at the white-spiralled Guggenheim and heritage at the Jewish Museum. Walk over Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn, home to Egyptian statues at Brooklyn Museum. Most museums open daily, with free entry on Friday evening. Some close on Monday.

Museums and Galleries

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  1. 1. International Center of Photography - Museums & Galleries

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    International Center of Photography, New York. © International Center of Photography

    The ICP is one of the world’s premier educators, collectors, and exhibitors of photographic art. The state-of-the-art gallery space is ideal for viewing rotating exhibitions of the museum’s 50,000-plus prints as well as visiting shows. The emphasis is on contemporary photographic works, but historically important photographers aren’t ignored. This is a must-see on any photography buff’s list.

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    Cost

    Admission $12 adults, $8 seniors and students, 11 and under free

    Opening hours

    Tues–Thurs and Sat–Sun 10am–6pm; Fri 10am–8pm

    Address

    1133 Sixth Ave, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/857-0000

    Transport

    42nd Street or Times Square subway

    Website

    International Center of Photography

  2. 2. The Jewish Museum - Museums & Galleries

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    Housed in a Gothic-style mansion renovated in 1993 by AIA Gold Medal winner Kevin Roche, this wonderful museum now has the world-class space it deserves to showcase its remarkable collections, which chronicle 4,000 years of Jewish history. The two-floor permanent exhibit, "Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey," tells the story of the Jewish experience from ancient times through today, and is the museum’s centerpiece.

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    Cost

    Admission $12 adults, $10 seniors, $7.50 students, free for children 11 and under; free for all Sat

    Opening hours

    Fri–Tues and Sat 11am–5:45pm; Thurs 11am–8pm

    Address

    1109 Fifth Ave, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/423-3200

  3. 3. Museum of Modern Art - Museums & Galleries

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    After a two-year renovation completed in 2004, MoMA grew to almost twice its original size. The renovation, designed by Yoshio Taniguchi, highlights space and light, with open rooms, high ceilings, and gardens—a beautiful work of architecture and a perfect complement to the art within. Exhibits include van Gogh’s Starry Night, Cezanne’s Bather, Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, and the great sculpture by Rodin, Monument to Balzac

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    Cost

    Admission $20 adults, $16 seniors, $12 students, children 16 and under free if accompanied by an adult

    Opening hours

    Sat–Mon and Wed–Thurs 10:30am–5:30pm; Fri 10:30am–8pm

    Address

    11 W. 53rd St, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/708-9400

  4. 4. Brooklyn Museum of Art - Museums & Galleries

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    One of the nation’s premier art institutions, the Brooklyn Museum of Art rocketed into public consciousness in 1999 with the controversial “Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection,” which drew international media attention and record crowds who came to see just what an artist—and a few conservative politicians—could make out of a little elephant dung.

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    Cost

    Suggested admission $10 adults, $6 seniors and students, free for children 11 and under; free to all 1st Sat of the month 11am–11pm

    Opening hours

    Wed and Sat–Sun 11am–6pm, 1st Sat of the month 11am–11pm, Thurs–Fri 11am–10pm

    Address

    200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, USA

    Telephone

    718/638-5000

  5. 5. Ellis Island - Museums & Galleries

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    One of New York’s most moving sights, the restored Ellis Island opened in 1990, slightly north of Liberty Island. Roughly 40% of Americans can trace their heritage back to an ancestor who came through here. For the 62 years when it was America’s main entry point for immigrants (1892–1954), Ellis Island processed some 12 million people. 

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    Cost

    Free admission (ferry ticket charge)

    Opening hours

    Daily 9:30am–5pm (last ferry departs around 2pm), with extended hours in the summer

    Address

    , New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/363-3200 (general info)

Attractions

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  1. 6. Central Park - Attractions

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    Without the miracle of civic planning that is Central Park, Manhattan would be a virtual unbroken block of buildings. Instead, smack in the middle of Gotham, an 843-acre natural retreat provides a daily escape valve and tranquilizer for millions of New Yorkers. While you’re in the city, be sure to take advantage of the park’s many charms—not the least of which is its sublime layout. 

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    Address

    , New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/628-1036

    Website

  2. 7. Brooklyn Bridge - Attractions

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    Its Gothic-inspired stone pylons and intricate steel-cable webs have moved poets such as Walt Whitman and Hart Crane to sing the praises of this great span, the first to cross the East River and connect Manhattan to Brooklyn. Begun in 1867 and completed in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge is the city's best-known symbol of the age of growth that began in the late 19th century. 

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    Address

    , Brooklyn, USA

  3. 8. New York Public Library - Attractions

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    The New York Public Library, adjacent to Bryant Park, is one of the country’s finest examples of Beaux Arts architecture, a majestic structure of white Vermont marble with Corinthian columns and allegorical statues. The interior has high-arched marble ceilings and grand staircases, and the main Reading Rooms have been returned to their stately glory and moved into the computer age. There’s a full calendar of lecture programs and excellent rotating exhibitions. 

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    Cost

    Free admission to all exhibitions

    Opening hours

    Mon and Thurs–Sat 10am–6pm; Tues–Wed 10am–8pm; Sun 1–5pm

    Address

    455 5th Avenue, New York, USA

    Telephone

    917/275-6975 (exhibits and events)

  4. 9. Grand Central Terminal - Attractions

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    New York’s Grand Central Terminal counts among the most magnificent public spaces in the country. Its high windows allow sunlight to penetrate the space, glinting off the Tennessee marble floor. The brass clock over the central kiosk gleams, as do the gold- and nickel-plated chandeliers piercing the side archways. And the masterful green-blue sky ceiling depicts the constellations of the winter sky above New York.

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    Address

    , New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/532-4900

  5. 10. Empire State Building - Attractions

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    art deco details of the lobby of the Empire State Building, NYC, New York

    It took 60,000 tons of steel and 10 million bricks to build. King Kong climbed it in 1933. Tragically, on September 11, 2001, it regained its status as New York City’s tallest building. Through it all, the Empire State Building has remained one of the city’s favorite landmarks and its signature high-rise.

    The best views are from the 86th-floor observatory. Walk out on the windy deck to look through coin-operated viewers over a magnificent citywide panorama. Dusk brings the biggest crowds and starry nights are pure magic.

    Cost

    Observatory admission $23 adults, $20 seniors, $17 children 6–11, free for children 5 and under

    Opening hours

    Daily 8am–2am (last elevator at 1:15am)

    Address

    350 Fifth Ave, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/736-3100

    Transport

    By Subway: 1, 2, 3 or 9 (7th Avenue Lines), A, C or E (8th Avenue Subway) to 34th Street/Penn Station. Also B, D, F, N, Q, R or Path to 34th Street/Avenue of the Americas.

    Website

    Empire State Building

Special things to do

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  1. 11. Mother A.M.E. Zion Church - Special Things to Do

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    One of Harlem’s great gospel churches, this African Methodist Episcopal house of worship was the first black church to be founded in New York State. Established in 1796, Mother A.M.E. was known as the “Freedom Church” for the central role it played in the Underground Railroad. Among the escaped slaves the church hid was Frederick Douglass; Paul Robeson was another of its famous congregant. 

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    Address

    140–6 W. 137th St, New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/234-1544

    Website

  2. 12. Statue of Liberty - Special Things to Do

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    For the millions who came by ship to America in the last century, Lady Liberty was their first glimpse of America. No monument so embodies the nation’s notion of political freedom and economic potential. Even if you don’t make it out to Liberty Island, you can glimpse it from Battery Park, the New Jersey side of the bay, or from the Staten Island Ferry. 

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    Cost

    Free admission; ferry ticket to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island $13 adults, $10 seniors 62 and older, $5 children 4–12

    Opening hours

    Daily 8:30am–4:30pm (last ferry departs around 2pm); extended hours in summer

    Address

    Liberty Island, New York City, USA

    Telephone

    212/363-3200 (general info)

    Transport

    Walk south through Battery Park to Castle Clinton, the fort housing the ferry ticket booth

    Website

    National Park Service

  3. 13. Staten Island Ferry - Special Things to Do

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    In 2006, the Staten Island Ferry celebrated its 100th anniversary. Over the years it has been one of New York’s best bargains—sometimes costing a nickel and most of the time, like now, a free ride. It’s New York’s best freebie—especially if you just want to glimpse the Statue of Liberty and not climb her steps. You get an hour-long round-trip into the world’s biggest harbor. 

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    Cost

    Free admission

    Opening hours

    24 hr.; every 15 min. during rush hour, every half hour or hour during nights and weekends

    Address

    1 Whitehall Street, New York, USA

    Telephone

    718/727-2508

  4. 14. The High Line - Special Things to Do

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    The High Line, Manhattan’s newest and most inventive park, runs 30 feet above street level on a former freight rail line. Where milk, meat and raw materials once trundled by, trendy New York now chats and chills, enjoying marvelous views over the Hudson River. The High Line’s lush landscaping of wildflowers, shrubs, sculpture and trees winds its way through two of Manhattan’s most creative and vibrant neighborhoods; gallery-rich Chelsea and the fashionista-filled Meatpacking District.

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    Cost

    Free admission

    Opening hours

    7am-7pm daily; open later during summer

    Address

    , New York, USA

    Telephone

    212/206-9922

    Website

    The High Line

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